The Official Blog of Forecast5 Analytics

Jason Schoenleber
Jason Schoenleber

Data Visualization, Student-Performance, Student Achievement, College and Career Readiness, ESSA

Student Performance Data Holds the Answers to Closing Achievement Gaps

Posted on Feb 9, 2018 4:09:38 PM

I followed with interest a recent discussion on a Facebook page devoted to the school district in the town where I live. Commenters were very concerned that our high school had dropped a few slots in a statewide ranking. The most frequent questions were “why” and what happened at our school that caused all the metrics that feed the rankings to result in a lower score?

School administrators ask the same questions when results show student achievement measurements have not improved. Why did the scores go down? What can we do to close the gaps at the district, building, subgroup and individual student levels?

Fortunately, buried in all the student performance data that school districts collect, there are answers. You just need to be able to figure out how to find them.

Uncovering Actionable Data

The goal of student achievement measurements is not to keep school administrators up at night. Rather, the metrics are guideposts to finding ways to improve student performance so as children move from K through 12 they are ready for college or careers. Monitoring and measuring key data points is how administrators, teachers and guidance counselors track progress and uncover areas that need additional attention.

Easy Ways to Correlate and Analyze Multiple Indicators to Improve Student Performance

Most district databases are distributed amongst a number of disparate student information systems (SIS). They may not all be in one place or readily accessible. The manual process of finding the right data and pulling it into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is resource intensive. It’s also difficult to run multiple scenarios to pinpoint the cause and effect of different factors on student achievement.

There is a better way to tackle the overwhelming task of finding actionable data to identify ways to improve student performance.

The Right Tools for the Job

The answer is an analytics platform like Forecast 5’s 5Lab™ that provides three key functions:

  1. Dashboard Analytics – Quick access to multiple analytics on one page that provide quick analysis at that point-in-time.
  2. Mobility Through the Data - The ability to move from data at the district level, all the way down to individual students quickly and easily.
  3. Customizable Playground - Flexibility to customize analytics, graphs, charts, and tables based on desired metrics, in a very easy-to-use interface.

The 5Lab platform pulls data in the right format as needed from disparate student information systems into one sandbox. Correlations between data are presented in easy-to-read, customizable dashboard views. The output provides quick analysis at a number of levels depending on what the reviewer wants to study. In just a few clicks, you should be able to drill down from a district level to an individual student.

  • District Views - Provide an overview of specified indicators for the entire district
  • Building Views - Dive down to metrics for students in a specific building, such as the entire high school population
  • Subgroups - Look at specific subgroups based on parameters such as grade level, demographics, academic proficiencies
  • Individual Students - Drill down to a profile of a specific student

With the right tools in place, administrators can uncover the data that explains why there are gaps in student achievement. Armed with answers, action plans can be put in place to address specific needs and then measure the results over time.


 Improve student performance with 5Lab

Jason Schoenleber is a Product Manager with Forecast5 Analytics in Naperville.  Prior to working at Forecast5, Jason worked for 3 years as a Solutions Consultant for Enfos Inc., advising corporate remediation directors on managing their financial debt obligation data through a SaaS platform and template modeling.  He received his Bachelors in Marketing from the University of South Dakota, and is currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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